ARTIST RELOCATION

 

Our Artist Relocation Program is a community effort designed to help artists and art-related businesses join our growing arts community here in the mountains of Western Maryland.The A&E Districts of Cumberland and Frostburg are an important part of this effort, since they make it possible for residents to take advantage of a wide range of local, state and federal tax incentives available to artists and arts-businesses. Among the other benefits we enjoy while living in Allegany County are the quality of life, natural beauty, affordable real estate, established arts community, and convenient proximity to the the metropolitan areas of Washington, DC, Baltimore and Pittsburgh.


Our Town: Cumberland
Courtesy: Maryland Public Television

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Artist Relocation Program Incentives

To help artists and art-businesses settle in Allegany County, the Cities of Cumberland and Frostburg (in cooperation with other local, State and Federal agencies) have established a variety of financial incentive programs. Some of the incentive programs are available in both A&E Districts and some are only available in one District or the other. Some financial incentives are also available outside the A&E District boundaries, in other targeted areas of the community. While every effort is made to keep this list current, financial incentive programs change periodically, so it is always best to follow-up directly with the point-of-contact listed below each item.


Arts & Entertainment District: Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program

A tax credit will be provided on City real property taxes for properties wholly or partially constructed or renovated to be capable for use by a qualifying artist or arts enterprise located within the Arts & Entertainment District. The credit shall be the difference between the property tax that, but for the tax credit, would be payable after the completion of eligible improvements, and the property tax that would be payable if the eligible improvements were not made.


In the Cumberland A&E District...

This tax "freeze" is available for a period of up to 10 years based on the level of improvements made to the property.Qualifying commercial properties are eligible for the tax "freeze."Properties must be located within the A&E District and a minimum of $5,000 investment must be made.Application must be made prior to work beginning with the City of Cumberland's Department of Community Development and a certificate of appropriateness from the local Historic Preservation Commission must be obtained, when applicable. Contact: Cumberland Economic Development at shershberger@allconet.org or 301-722-4156.


In the Frostburg A&E District...

The City of Frostburg has adapted an Arts & Entertainment Tax Credit Program under the provisions of the Annotated Code of Maryland for qualifying projects. Frostburg’s A&E District Tax Credit Program will provide an eighty (80%) percent reduction in the increased real estate tax caused by a qualified project for five (5) years.The benefit occurs only on the increase in real estate taxes. Application must be made prior to work beginning with the City of Frostburg, and a certificate of appropriateness from the local Historic Preservation Commission must be obtained, when applicable. This program is available as a result of Frostburg's designation as a State of Maryland Arts & Entertainment District through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Contact: City of Frostburg at robert.ketterman@allconet.org or 301-689-6000, x19.


Arts & Entertainment District: Admissions & Amusement Tax Exemption Program

Enterprises dedicated to visual or performing arts located within the Arts & Entertainment District are exempt from the collection of the State of Maryland's Admissions and Amusement Tax. Businesses must qualify for the exemption and notification must be provided to the State of Maryland's Comptroller's Office in order to be eligible.Contact: Cumberland Economic Development at shershberger@allconet.org or 301-722-4156. Contact: City of Frostburg at robert.ketterman@allconet.org or 301-689-6000, x19.


Arts & Entertainment District: Income Tax Subtraction Modification Program

Qualifying artists who own or rent residential real property in the county where the Arts & Entertainment District is located, and who conduct business in the District, may be eligible for a Maryland personal income tax subtraction modification to eliminate state and local income tax on their income from the sale, publication, or production within the District—or any Maryland Arts & Entertainment District—of their artistic work that is written, composed, or executed within the District. This s income derived from internet, mail order, and catalog sales of artistic work that is shipped from within the District to buyers in another location, if the qualifying artist created that artistic work within the District.Contact for both A&E Districts: Pamela Dunne at the Maryland State Arts Council at pdunne@msac.org or 410-767-6484.


Progress Fund Loans

The Progress Fund fills the capital gap by providing loans from $20,000 to $400,000 to new or expanding businesses that seek to create jobs and opportunity. The Progress Fund recognizes that every business is different, considers every client's needs and circumstances, and tailors its assistance to meet those needs. Their loans are available to qualified businesses located in (and around) the designated areas in both A&E Districts, and: • Can be used to purchase property and/or equipment, restore and rehabilitate structures, purchase inventory, purchase the business assets of an existing business and for working capital • Carry variable interest rates based on the nature of the project • Have terms typically of five to fifteen years • an origination fee and closing costs • The Progress Fund also provides coaching, at no charge, to new and expanding businesses, including: Financial Analysis: The Progress Fund delves deep into a business's plans to determine its true capital and cash flow needs Marketing Assistance: The Progress Fund can help businesses establish presences on regional websites, announce events to the media, and participate in regional marketing efforts Referrals: The Progress Fund refers businesses seeking intensive planning assistance and/or government funding to Small Business Development Centers, county and local development associations, and other valuable resources Contact for both A&E Districts: Bill Atkinson, Trail Town Program Coordinator, at trailtownsmd@hotmail.com or 301-777-2161.


Enterprise Zone Tax Incentives

The Enterprise Zone may employ the following incentive programs to qualified businesses located within the designated areas in both A&E Districts: • Income tax credits on new employees • Property tax credits on new investments • Also in the Cumberland A&E District: • Access to State venture capital fund • Special provisions for industrial bonds • One-step permitting process • Help with water lines, sewer lines and access roads • Help in preparing financial packages • Reimbursement of building permit fees and tapping fees for water and sewer • Educational and job counseling opportunities as well as vocational training Additional details may be found at the Choose Maryland website. Funds are provided through the State of Maryland in cooperation with the City of Cumberland/the City of Frostburg, and Allegany County. Contact: Cumberland Economic Development at shershberger@allconet.org or 301-722-4156. Contact: City of Frostburg at robert.ketterman@allconet.org or 301-689-6000, x19.


Lenders Loan Pool

Available in the Cumberland A&E District, but not in the Frostburg A&E District, this program was created to encourage development of the downtown area by financing the start-up costs and renovations of businesses relocating and/or expanding within the Central Business District. Loans ranging from $10,000 - $100,000 are provided at 7% interest for a maximum of 60 months and can be used for expenses such as inventory, leasehold improvements, equipment, and receivables. Funds are provided by the City of Cumberland in partnership with local banks and the State of Maryland. Contact: Cumberland Economic Development at shershberger@allconet.org or 301-722-4156.


Downtown Frostburg Revolving Loan Fund (RLF)

Available in the Frostburg A&E District, but not in the Cumberland A&E District, this program is for proposed property improvement projects located within the Main Street commercial district (C3 Zoning District). Priority is given to projects in the West Main Street area. Type of Project: Exterior and/or interior renovation/construction of any business-use space or commercial/multi-family in a mixed-use building. The City is most interested in renovations for commercial use. Mixed use properties may upper story apartment rehabilitation. Projects involving new construction, demolition, or site work may also be d. All projects must be reviewed by the Maryland Historical Trust for consistency with State law relating to protection of historic resources; in some cases, building plans may also need to be reviewed prior to closing. Amount: $100,000 was approved by the State of Maryland Community Legacy Funding and is available. Projects are limited to $50,000 maximum reservation with a matching requirement, so that a $50,000 reservation would require a $100,000 minimum project estimate. Smaller projects are encouraged. The City expects to fund approximately 3-4 projects, depending on the size of projects proposed. Required Match: A 50% match is required, from a) equity; or b) borrowed funds. The City encourages use of Frostburg’s Façade funding with the RLF funding for larger projects, but the maximum $10,000 Façade grant cannot be used as match, and the Façade funding match cannot double as match for the RLF program. In this case, the CL assistance could be as high as $60,000 maximum, including elements eligible for Façade funding. A larger private match will also be required. Please contact staff for more information if combined funded is requested. Terms: 40% will require no repayment (incentive grant); another 20% will be loaned to match a State repayment – 4 years, 0%. The remaining 40% will be loaned for 5 years at 5%. This results in a monthly payment of $468.61 on funding of $40,000 as an example (payments would drop in Year 5). Repayments of the 40% loaned at 5% will be retained by the City for future commercial loans in downtown. Closing costs are estimated at $500-$800 if the City Attorney closes the loan, deducted from the gross proceeds of the loan. This program is funded through State of Maryland Community Legacy Funding and is available to qualifying properties located within the targeted area of the City of Frostburg. Contact: City of Frostburg at robert.ketterman@allconet.org or 301-689-6000, x19.


Facade Grant Program

Available in the Frostburg A&E District, but not in the Cumberland A&E District, this program is available to qualifying properties located within the West Main Street commercial district. Type of Project: Any exterior front or rear building façade improvement, including walls, windows, doors, decorative features, signs, and other building frontage elements visible from a public street, but not including side walls or roof work, for any commercial, multi-family, or mixed-use building. Interior work, new construction, demolition, or site work are not allowed, but may be considered for the companion RLF program. Note that certain types of business uses are not permitted to benefit by State regulation – see application form. Terms: Frostburg’s Community Legacy Façade program is straight grant at 50% of total cost (capped at $10,000). All work must be supported by a design professional sketch or drawing; work must be completed by a licensed contractor. Exceptions will be considered upon written request stating circumstances supporting self design or self construction. Application Process: The application and program description is available at City Hall or by email. Applications should be provided directly to City Hall. Electronic application with scanned signatures will be accepted only if all necessary attachments are d. Approvals: All projects must be reviewed by the Maryland Historical Trust and the Frostburg Historic District Commission for consistency with laws protecting historic resources; in some cases, building plans may also be reviewed by State and local agencies. No work other than design may be done until these reviews are completed and the City gives its official approval and permission to begin the project work. This program is funded through State of Maryland Community Legacy Funding and is available to qualifying properties located within the targeted area of the City of Frostburg. Contact: City of Frostburg at robert.ketterman@allconet.org or 301-689-6000, x19.


One Maryland

The One Maryland Tax Credit Program provides two special tax credits to businesses that initiate major investment projects in Maryland's most economically distressed jurisdictions, including Allegany County. The One Maryland Project Tax Credits of up to $5 million are based on qualifying costs and expenses incurred by the business entity in connection with the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, installation, and equipping of an eligible economic development project. The business entity must incur at least $500,000 in eligible project costs and must create at least 25 new qualified positions. One Maryland Start-up Tax Credits of up to $500,000 are based on a business' cost to furnish and equip a new location for ordinary business functions and to move to a qualified distressed county from outside Maryland. 50 qualified new positions are required to qualify for the full $500,000 credit. Additional details may be found at the Choose Maryland website. Funds are provided through the State of Maryland in cooperation with the City of Cumberland/the City of Frostburg, and Allegany County. Contact: Cumberland Economic Development at shershberger@allconet.org or 301-722-4156. Contact: City of Frostburg at robert.ketterman@allconet.org or 301-689-6000, x19.


Federal HUBZone Contracting Program

Available in the Cumberland A&E District, but not in the Frostburg A&E District, the HUBZone Empowerment Contracting Program was enacted into law as part of the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997. The program encourages economic development in historically underutilized business zones - "HUBZones" - through the establishment of preferences. SBA's HUBZone program is an effort to promote economic development and employment growth in distressed areas by providing access to more Federal contracting opportunities. A small business must meet all of the following criteria to qualify for the HUBZone program: • It must be located in a "historically underutilized business zone" or HUBZone. • I t must be owned and controlled by one or more US Citizens, and at least 35% of its employees must reside in a HUBZone. In addition, a qualifying small business must also locate within a Historically Underutilized Business Zone or ("HUB Zone"). Within the City of Cumberland, there is currently one qualified census tract (as defined in section 42(d)(5)(C)(i)(I) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986). Federal Certification is required to participate in this program and the Small Business Administration (SBA) serves as the sponsoring agency. Additional details may be found at the HUBZone website. Contact: Cumberland Economic Development at shershberger@allconet.org or 301-722-4156.


Maryland Neighborhood BusinessWorks Program

The Neighborhood BusinessWorks Program is a critical revitalization tool for Maryland's communities. The program provides financial assistance to small businesses and nonprofit organizations locating or expanding in locally designated neighborhood revitalization areas throughout the State. The financial assistance may come in a number of forms, including low-interest loans or loan guarantees. Eligible applicants are Maryland-based small businesses including Microenterprises (as defined by the US Small Business Administration) and non-profit organizations whose activities contribute to a broader revitalization effort, and whose projects are intended to promote investment in commercial districts or town centers, are eligible for the program. Financing generally ranges from $25,000 - $500,000. Each project is reviewed for financial need, which may be up to 50 percent of total project costs. Refinancing is not considered part of the project cost. Eligible projects retail businesses (including franchises), manufacturing businesses, service-related businesses, and mixed-use projects consisting of a commercial or retail use. Eligible uses of funds marketing, planning and feasibility studies, real estate acquisition, new construction or rehabilitation, lease hold improvements, machinery and equipment, working capital (when part of the total project costs), certain other costs associated with opening or expanding a small business. Funds are provided through the State of Maryland's Department of Housing and Community Development. Contact: Cumberland Economic Development at shershberger@allconet.org or 301-722-4156. Contact: City of Frostburg at robert.ketterman@allconet.org or 301-689-6000, x19.


Historic District Tax Credits (Federal, State and Local)

There are a number of incentives available for individuals and businesses who purchase property in a designated Historic District.


Maryland Historical Trust Historic Preservation Loan Program

The Maryland Historical Trust administers loan programs that assist both bricks and mortar activities such as acquisition and rehabilitation of historic properties and the development of heritage tourism-related businesses. Loans are awarded as a lump sum that must be repaid within an agreed-upon time period. The loan terms are attractive, offering below market rates. More information about this program can be obtained by contacting the Maryland Historical Trust's Office of Preservation Services at 410-514-7627 or 410-514-7628. More information is available on the MHT website by visiting http://www.mht.maryland.gov/loans.html.


Maryland Historical Trust Capital Grant Program

Applications are available year round, but this is a highly competitive program with awards being made only one time each year. More information about this program can be obtained by contacting the Maryland Historical Trust's Office of Preservation Services at 410-514-7627 or 410-514-7628. Application forms and instructions may be obtained by visiting the website at http://mht.maryland.gov/ and clicking "Forms and Documents".


Maryland Historical Trust Emergency Assistance Program

A reserve of twenty percent of the total Maryland Historical Trust Grant Fund is withheld each year to help meet needs that may arise throughout the year. Those in need of emergency funding must complete the MHT Capital Grant application, as though applying at the beginning of the regular grant cycle. More information about this program can be obtained by contacting the Maryland Historical Trust's Office of Preservation Services at 410-514-7627 or 410-514-7628. Applications and forms may be obtained by visiting the website at http://mht.maryland.gov/ and clicking "Forms and Documents".


Federal Tax Incentive Program

The program enables the owners or long-term leaseholders of income-producing certified historic structures (listed in the National Register of Historic Places, or a contributing element within the boundaries of an historic district), to receive a federal tax credit. The credit amounts to 20% of the cost of a certified rehabilitation Applications for this program contain three parts and are available through the Maryland Historical Trust. More information about this program can be obtained by contacting the MHT's Office of Preservation Services at 410-514-7627 or 410-514-7628. More information can be found on the National Park Service's Heritage Preservation Services website, located at http://www.nps.gov/tps/tax-incentives.htm.


Also in the Cumberland A&E District...

City of Cumberland Historic District Tax Incentive Program For qualified renovations that have been approved by the Historic Preservation Commission, a ten-percent credit can be deducted from the property owner's annual city property taxes. A minimum expenditure of $5,000 is required. This credit can be used for up to five years if the amount of credit is greater than the amount of annual taxes due. Additionally, a city property tax assessment freeze is available for a period of up to ten years. The length of the freeze depends upon the amount of the expenditure in relation to the pre-improvement market value of the property. In 2006, this program was expanded to not only the Canal Place Preservation District, but also all National Register of Historic Districts within Cumberland. Maps of these districts, as well as application forms, are available by calling 301-759-6431.


Special Taxing District Incentive Program

In 2013, the Mayor and City Council, at the request of the Downtown Development Commission, provided a tax assessment freeze equal to that received by the City of Cumberland's Historic District Tax Incentive Program to be applied to the Special Tax for property owners in the Primary and Secondary Districts of the Downtown Cumberland Special Taxing District. Applicants must have work approved by the Cumberland Historic Preservation Commission in order to be eligible. There is not a separate application required but property owners should indicate on the Historic District application that they are located within an eligible district.


Allegany County Historic District Tax Incentive Program

The Allegany County Commissioners have provided a tax assessment freeze equal to that received through the City of Cumberland's program. Applicants must have work approved by the Cumberland Historic Preservation Commission in order to be eligible. Approved City of Cumberland Historic District Tax Incentive Applications will be forwarded to the Allegany County Office of Finance for processing. There is not a separate application required.


Maryland Sustainable Communities Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program

The Maryland Sustainable Communities Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program is administered by the Maryland Historical Trust and provides Maryland income tax credits based on a percentage of the qualified capital costs expended in the rehabilitation of a structure for the following types of projects: • 20% credit for "certified historic structures" that are owner-occupied, single-family residences • 20% credit for "certified historic structures" that are commercial buildings • 25% credit for "certified historic structures" that are high-performance commercial buildings • 10% credit for non-historic "qualified rehabilitated structures All applications must be approved by the Maryland Historical Trust prior to the commencement of work. More information about this program can be obtained by contacting the Maryland Historical Trust's Office of Preservation Services at 410-514-7627 or 410-514-7628. Forms and instructions may be obtained by visiting the website at http://www.mht.maryland.gov/. Please note that all programs are funded through various resources and each has its own set of guidelines and eligibility requirements. Most programs are funded on an annual basis and are subject to change. Please contact the phone numbers listed above to ensure that stated program information is still accurate prior to submitting application.


   
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Helpful Links

For the latest news from our community, please follow this link to the Cumberland Times-News (http://www.times-news.com/). Tourism information for Allegany County and visit planning tools are available on the MDmountainside.com (www.mdmountainside.com) web site.For information about the people, places and events that make Allegany County special, please visit the Allegany Magazine (http://www.alleganymagazine.com/) web site.Here's a link to the Allegany County Public Library (http://www.alleganycountylibrary.info/ ) web site.Here's a link to the Allegany County Board of Education (http://www.acpsmd.org/) web site.


 

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